“Sorry, I can’t, but have fun!”
If I had a dime for every time in the past 5 years I texted this to someone who asked me to do something with them, I would have, well… a lot of dimes. For so long, I was either pregnant and not feeling well, nursing and overwhelmed, or adjusting to a new addition to our family that I just said “no” to almost any event or invite. Now that my youngest is almost 2, it seems that I can finally start to say “yes” to more connection with others.
The only problem is… actually saying “yes.”
Saying “no” had become my safe place. If I didn’t have to socialize, I never had to feel awkward in a group I barely knew and never had to worry about what I was going to wear. I just stayed home with my favorite little roommates, ate popcorn, and put on the rattiest jammies I owned. This was comfort. This was who I was.
Only it wasn’t. I used to be social. Being around other people, talking for hours on end, and having adult opinions about important topics were all things I took pride in.
Lifting the Mom Fog
Having kids sort of threw me into a mom fog. I was seeing the world just as I did before; but this new role I had acquired made everything a little blurred. I saw other moms doing things and would wonder, where did they find the time?
Whether it be volleyball league, happy hour, or a community event for families, I have started to just say “yes” to more connection. I try to commit more than I used to, and I have found that I don’t regret it. Don’t get me wrong, saying “no” is almost always easier; I don’t have to figure out the logistics, and I don’t have to feel the inevitable mom guilt that comes with being gone during the evening.
Social Distance Doesn’t Mean “No”
Suddenly, the world changed and we were unable to leave our homes. My first thought was, “Wow, I was built for this!” A weekend with no plans? Sign me up! Every single time there was an impending storm day, I would revel in the fact if the roads were closed and I could just shut out the world and enjoy my immediate family. But that one storm day is so much different than a prolonged period of time without seeing who want to see or being where you want to be. I knew I would have to dig deep into my “yes” bucket and try hard to still do more.
Changing the “More”
I had to re-envision what it would look like to say “yes” to more connection. Happy hour was now virtual and I said “yes”. I waved to my neighbors as they passed by and was genuinely glad to have small talk. My evening outing was now a long walk with my immediate family and I said “yes”. The workout regimen that finally become consistent now consisted of home workouts and bundling up for an outdoor run, but darn it, I said “yes”. The hour-long mindless strolls through Target now became time I could play a card game with my husband after quickly hitting “add to cart” from my dining room table. I decided to actually finish projects that had sat around for years.
I wasn’t doing less by any means, I was just signing up for this thing called life in whatever format was thrown at me. Commitment to activities doesn’t have to be scary, in fact it can be really enjoyable.
All you need to do is say “yes!”!
How are you saying “yes” more during this time of social distancing? Share with us how you’re connecting with others!